DFR Telecoms Diary
Hopes for the coming year :
7 January : No one went to the DFR today so I got down to getting some traing material turned into PowerPoint presentations. The first seven training modules are available on this website.
11 January : Tony and Rick had a go at a reported fault on lights in our hallway. However it was RWT, (right when tested). Ray and myself started to test the new equipment for the PA but quickly got bogged down in wiring errors between the rack and the IDF. Rick and Ray spent the rest of the day sorting it out. Tony fitted a mains socket in our office for use by Peter and his Norstar which he is installing simply for use as a tester for wiped up phones.
Paul went off home. Peter, Ian and I met Jean for lunch at Kaplan's. During the afternoon, Ian and I got on with testing the new PA equipment. We found the fused battery supplies reversed and a wire whisker shorting on the back of the relay set jack. After giving the jacks a good look over we made excellent progress in testing the set up. We got so far as getting some output from the exchange room speaker. This leaves us in good shape for starting the change over to the new PA next Wednesday.
18 January : Martin and Tony had a good day. They shifted a power socket in the office while Paul installed a large blackboard for training purposes. They also did PAT testing at short notice and changed out one the large lights over the yard. Rick and Peter went to Parkend to shift a D phone in the ground frame hut so that the token machine could be installed. They also checked that we could get into the meter cabinet at the bypass crossing now that the lock has been changed. Ray and I spent an entire day shifting one PA access phone in the main building. Probably we would have got the sack at BT for such poor performance. In the end we had to recable the phone via the loft. This got Rick removing all the tools we had in boxes in the loft so that he could make up some maintenance kits. Quite a busy day. We should now be in a position to rapidly start changing over circuits to the new PA equipment.
Then Michael Portillo was on the DFR auto coach on TV during the evening.
21 January : Ian and Paul spent the morning checking the CAT5 cables around the site and changing out the switching hub for an improved one. Then they made calls over the net between the Asterisk and a home ATA, monitoring the data traffic and finally getting calls made between the internal phones and a soft phone at Ian's house. They must be getting close to a resolution of our Asterisk problem. I made a start on changing over the access tele lines to the new PA but was stopped on the first one due to a fault on the relay set. In the end it looks as though the audio switching relays mounted on a strip board have a contact somewhere in the board's soldering. I will have to take the set home so that I can inspect the board with a good magnifier.
23 January : I took the relay board to pieces to find a metal hair shorting two veroboard strips under the relay bodies. I rebuilt the relays onto plain veroboard. This ended up much tidier and fault free. I took the set back to Norchard to test. It seemed fine.
25 January : We started the day with a heated discussion about the latest requirements to reveal health status to the railway's Medical Officer. This left several questions regarding the need for the information, the seeming requirement to provide a medical history starting from the day you were born, the confidentiality of the information if it is given etc, most of which were answered to some extent by enquiries made during the day. We finally decided it was time to do some work only to find that our stores had been incorrectly locked by the sharing group. We had to cut a link in the chain to gain access. Martin and Tony proceeded with some electrical work. Peter did odd jobs to help Rick and Ray who continued to change over telephone circuits from the old to the new PA equipment. We now have all the phones tested and working very well. The speech quality from the phones to the PA seems to be excellent. A pleasing result.
26 January : Jean and I went to check the relative volumes of the direct access PA phones and those which access via 595. We found that 595 calls were much louder. I brought the relay set home and made a small modification so that the 595 volume could be adjusted easily.
28 January : Paul, Ian and I went to the Junction to pickup a uniselector mounting. Ian mounted the five uniselectors and two strip connections needed for the exchange at the Junction. He is taking them home to clean up and complete the multiple wiring etc. Paul and I refitted the PA access relay set and tested it. We now have the volumes from all the connected telephones pretty well identical. Paul also checked a CAT5 cable that was giving problems last week. It seems to test OK? I went on to the extra-ordinary general meeting at Whitecroft which agreed the reorganisation of the board and management of the railway. Out of this we will become attached to S and T. Seems sensible.
1 February : We started our day with an explanation of the new company's structure using our new blackboard facility. We went a little further and allocated out Officer in Charge duties covering electrical maintenance and our three exchange areas. The idea of preparing proper works files for new work was adopted. Martin and Tony went to the wholesaler's for replacement items and spent the day repairing portable apparatus. Rick and Peter found a corrosion fault in DP3A (where else?). Ray and I changed over the speakers and the fire alarm to the new system. We had a little problem with high frequency feedback on the very short line access phone which we solved by the addition of a little damping to the microphone circuit. We still have the main mics and the music channel to changeover next week. When we left we could listen to Lynne calling Bob to the shop very clearly indeed, in fact we are a bit surprised that the telephones connected to the system work so well. A rather satisfactory day.
The work has been allocated as follows :
John - Telecom Manager (forward planning, works files, records, training, safety procedures, overall responsibility, tea and cakes)
Officers in charge will generally keep an oversight of their area, ensure that maintenance is completed, have a good knowledge of the equipment and records and that tool kits and maintenance stores are available at their exchanges.
4 February : Our office was so cold that the kettle was just a lump of ice. We managed a cuppa eventually. I discussed the new board arrangements with Ian and Paul. Then we went to Parkend to check that the 456 relay set we are to build will actually fit the rack position.. All OK. We gave the equipment a bit of a hammering but all was well except that the contact voltmeter gave us a high volts alarm. We think the cold weather must have reduced the resistance in the circuit to give the high reading. Back at Norchard, Paul got on with giving the Asterisk a speaking clock, now working on 444. Ian and I tried to get the shop microphone working on the new PA. The switching works properly but the circuit has a quite high hum level. We spent some time trying to locate the problem but in the end gave up as the snow had turned the site quite white. Something odd is going on, but then microphone circuits are very sensitive to pick up.
8 February : Martin and Tony went to the wholesaler's to collect outstanding electrical stores, Tony drilled mounting holes in the cabinets proposed for lineside phones at Upper Forge and Tuft's Bridge. Bob can now get on and paint them. Tony also started to catalogue electrical stores. On the telecom side we decided to adopt plan B as we had little faith that we could solve the hum problem on the microphones today. Rick and Peter recovered the unused PA access phone from the waiting room and got it working in the station master's office. Then they fitted a PA press button in the shop office so that the shop could make announcements via 595. I made a permanent modification on the access relay set to overcome the high frequency feedback on short lines. We also changed over the music channel and got the levels adjusted. The railway can now make satisfactory PA announcements from all previous locations.
11 February : Paul and I got on and recovered the old PA access relay sets and the wiring from them and the cabling from the PA rack to the frame. This leaves the jumpering very much simplified. We recovered the power feeds to the lamps at the microphone positions as the lamps no longer signify whether or not the PA is on. We disconnected all the control wiring to the microphone points and found that the hum disappeared and that the mikes made a good quality connection to the new amplifier. We are now pretty sure that the 24 volt supply must have a high mains ripple on its output. We will find a choke and high value capacitor next week to see if some additional smoothing will help. The old PA rack can now be dismantled and perhaps sold on eBay.
17 February : Martin and I were called in as there was no electricity feed to the sidings area. We were quite unable to find the fault before getting hold of Richard the contract electrician for the site. He told us of the fuse lurking in the corner of the shop store. It was blown and we were not surpised as it was only rated at twenty amps. Naturally we did not have a spare so we went to the wholesaler's in Cinderford for replacements. They had none so it was on to Gloucester where we managed to find the spare. Overall it took two of us, four and a half hours each, to replace a fuse. We need a diagram of what cables feed where at Norchard as this particular fuse was not where one would expect it.
18 February : I was in my own so I just fitted a choke and two large smoothing capacitors to the 24 volt supply for the PA. That seems to have eliminated any mains ripple entirely.
22 February : Rick and Ray went off to Parkend to repair a non ringing telephone, the bell coil was dis. Peter altered our office phone to a wall type and recovered the PA press button facility. Martin looked at the non functioning lights in the ladies and the non working workshop water heater. Both required the contractor's touch and so he was advised of the need for the work. I was harried about the electrical jobs on the go, so rather than resign, I had a go at the mike in the shop. I got it going without any hum leaving just the Station Master's mike to be reconnected next weekend. Not our best day.
25 February : Ian spent the day stripping down the old PA rack which we have decided to scrap. Paul and I had a go at getting the station master's mike to work. There was a problem with the DP being terminated incorrectly followed by the lack of an earth to the mike position. Eventually the penny dropped and I had a look in the loft to find that the mike cable had originally gone directly to the PA rack and had been cut off when the rack was closed down and the end was loitering on top of the cable racking. Ah well, now we know how to proceed on Wednesday.
26 February : I picked up the PETS phones at the Junction signal box, repacked them and took them to Norchard for return to the manufacturer. We expect to get ordinary CB signal post phones in their place.
29 February :
Ray, Peter and I got the station master's mike working so that the PA is now complete. We even labelled up all the equipment. The pictures show the new amplifiers and the newly built equipment that connects microphones and telephones to the amps.
8 March : Ray and Martin walked the track from Whitecroft to Norchard and made notes of the telecom's cable locations as they went. The dreaded flail is due to be used next week and we want the operators to avoid any cable on the surface.
10 March : Paul and Ian went through the caboosh and retrieved the spare components from the old PA, photographed them and stacked everything up neatly out of the way in the office. They temporarily reassembled the rack in the exchange to photograph it too. The plan is to offer the lot around various telecoms/railway heritage mailing lists on a "donations welcome, pick it up by the end of March or it goes to the tip" basis, so we won't throw any of it out just yet! They also managed to fit one of the old PA monitoring panels in the office so that we can check the level of the PA in comfort.This is the link to Paul's PA disposals page? Disposals
21 March : Before the day started, our internal phone rang. It was Paul calling from home. He seems to have cracked the problems with the Asterisk and it's ATAs. He has used an old BT Voyager router as an ATA. We were tickled pink with the speech quality. Martin and Tony spent a somewhat wasted afternoon taking a duff welder to pieces for the scrap, only to find that the windings were aluminium rather than copper. Rick and Peter got the Signal Post Telephone at the abutment installed and working. Ray and I repaired a clock broken in the workshop and got it going again. We then went to Whitecroft and Parkend to check on the situation there. Whitecroft needs a phone somewhere but no one will say where, so we will put it in a cabinet outside and extend it in when some one decides. Bob Bramwell will now lay the necessary duct across the station gateway. Ray is taking over as Officer in charge of Parkend, so we worked our way through the equipment in the exchange to give Ray a better idea of what's what. The rats have been back chewing our cable at Norchard. Lynne will get the rat catcher in again.
24 March : Ian, Paul and I fitted an additional SPT at the bypass crossing, that job is now complete. We also tested and labelled up the additional SPT at the abutment north of the hi-level platform.
26 March : The paper on the Fire Warning System has been updated on this website.
28 March : Martin, Rick, Ray and I spent the day tidying the caboosh. We threw a fair bit of gear away and at the end of the day, Ray and I took the debris to the dump.
31 March : Ian and Paul wired and jumpered in the two outgoing relay sets moved from Parkend. Peter and I sorted cable and jointing sleeves in the caboosh so that we have made rather more space. Peter continued to sort out customer equipment.
4 April : A very cold, wet miserable day. Ray and I checked that the duct laid for the Whitecroft station phone was satisfactory. Rick and Ray tested level 6 to the auto auto relay set moved into Norchard from Parkend. They concluded that the testing battery at 250 ohms was too high a resistance for a UAX13, it should be 150 ohms for reliable testing. I have brought the set home to modify. We then cleared up and tidied the exchange. The old PA rack is in the skip. Pater carried on with sorting "sub's app" and testing and wiping up the phones we keep finding. I had a migraine attack, lots of lights flashing in my vision so I was not a great help. Martin was called to find the electrical mains off on platform 1. The cafe had to close early. We could not find the fault as we did not have a drawing for the mains layout in that area. We called in Richard, the electrical contractor, and he had to resort to testing with a megger to try to get to the root of the problem. It is thought to be in a water heater in the cafe. It has been isolated and we must now see if the problem has really gone away. We need to have a good check of the heater but ran out of time.
11 April : Only Ray and I attended. We had both been ill, Martin is currently ill as well. We tidied our office so that it could be used as a booking office for Thomas this weekend. Then we went to the Junction to look at the concentrator as we had an alarm extended from there. The ringer fuse appeared to have given up the struggle. We replaced a yellow fuse with a red fuse and hope that will last the course. We have a plea from S and T regarding the box to box D phone circuit not working. We checked that it was faulty but didn't feel up to going through the mods that the S and T group have recently made to the circuit. We went home for lunch but later I took the units from the old PA to the dump.
18 April : Peter and I had a look at the D phone circuit between the signal boxes and found the Norchard button contacts dirty and perhaps a little out of adjustment. When we left we were working OK to Lydney Junction. Martin and Ray sorted out the non working lights along the workshop, just blown bulbs. Peter and I were called to repair the bypass crossing start push as it had been vandalised. We repaired the break but the push button needs a proper rewire as the cable is beginning to perish. Ray and Peter went off to Parkend to jumper a new line for Whitecroft station as we have a date in late May for the official opening. Martin and I cleaned the floor in Norchard exchange. What an improvement.
21 April : Ian and Paul provided the duct and cable from DP1L at Whitecroft across to the new building so that it will be ready for terminating. They also decommissioned the Parkend master clock to make it ready to be moved to Norchard when work on rebuilding the clocks start.
22 April : Jean and I visited the Bodmin and Wenford Railway for their Southern gala. While waiting for the train we spoke to Tom Howe who had installed the signal box. He showed us round. A very neat and tidy job.
We then took the train to Boscarne Junction and back followed by the trip to Bodmin Parkway and return. We had prairie 5552 on our train but there were four other engines in steam at Bodmin and all were used during the day, There was 24 from the Isle of Wight, 30120 the T9, 30587 the Beattie Well Tank and a big 280 GW tank. We did a final trip to Bodmin Parkway again behind 5552 later in the day.
24 April : I went to meet Colin Gardiner and Craig Street of Network Rail at Norchard where they shot a segment of a DVD being made for NR.
This segment was about earlier telecoms apparatus and was a talking head shot plus lots of close ups of selectors working and calls being set up on the 10+50.
Whilst there, Rick came in to list the apparatus in the exchange for his maintenance schedules and Ray called in on his way to Parkend where he was going to tidy and clean.
25 April : It rained most of the day. We were stuck with Rick and Ray sorting out maintenance kits for Norchard and Parkend. Martin had a go at a couple of faulty vacuum cleaners. Peter got on with telephone wipe up, we are getting a stock of quite nice teles now. I looked at the signal post in the museum with a thought that they could be operated from a simple exchange relay set instead of the signalling gear in the rather wet outside cabinet. It looks a good possibility. Later we visited Whitecroft en masse to see what was needed. We have located an external cabinet for Bob H to paint for us and cable access to the building looks simple.
28 April : Paul, Ian and I sorted out what was needed for Whitecroft and then went to the station to fit the phones. I had to go to Light Fantastic to get additional fixing bolts before we could bolt the external cabinet to the fence. In the end it looked quite neat but needs Bob H to finish the paint job. We had no dial tone in DP1L so I left Ian and Paul cabling the installation and went to chase the dial tone from Parkend. I found the pair not through in DP1E and also some incorrect cable termination. We must go back and sort that. With dial tone available we tested the phones to find that the external wall phone had a faulty dial and the internal phone had faulty switch hooks. By then we had run out of time and were a bit fed with the rain and decided to go home.
2 May : Rick, Ray and Peter were in. They spoke to Ned at Parkend to ascertain his problem with hearing the phone ring. After deliberation it was decided to fit an extn bell 80d outside the staff room. A suitable bell has been found to be fitted next week by Ray and Peter. Ned said the job was not urgent. At Whitecroft the outside phone in the box had its dial changed by Ray; the internal extn was repaired and refitted by Peter; temporary labels fitted, tested and working ok. Bob Hawker appeared during lunch and presented us with an object which had apparently been blown down on Sunday. It protects the back end of the large horn PA outside the workshop at Norchard. After some debate Peter made a repair and Ray and Rick refitted it to the horn. Peter has taken a template to make a new one. It seems to be necessary to weatherproof the end of this PA horn.
5 May : Ian installed a WAP and surveyed the coverage. Paul provided sip-extension 490 in the exchange. Peter and Ian went to Whitecroft and installed the dial labels. Then they recovered the Parkend master clock. In the afternoon, Ian wall-mounted the master clock whilst Paul tinkered with the asterisk.
9 May : Martin and Tony fitted a heater in the station master's office. Ray and Peter provided an extension bell on the Parkend telephone. Rick went on sorting out Norchard exchange. It is looking rather good now. I found out how to change a local first into an incoming junction first. We will need extra incoming firsts for connecting the 45670 junction from Parkend and the two junctions from Lydney signal box.
12 May : Ian and Paul got the additional master clock fixed properly to the wall at Norchard and connected to a temporary relay set and clock. At least it is swinging but needs considerable maintenance work on it to get it right. We proved the wireless access point (WAP) to be working and got our laptop connected to the net via it. I went to Parkend to survey for the fitting of the 45670 relay set. We then investigated altering the 10+50 power arrangements so that we can dodge the blowing fuse problem. We are going to tap our main battery to provide a 24 volt supply and fit a converter ringing no 7 for the ringing supply.
16 May : Only Martin and Peter were in. They had a day chasing problems. They had to find a way through the CAT5 network for Trevor to get a connection for a computer. They also found that the connection recently made to the wireless access point had been yanked out of the socket to break both plug and socket. It is now working again but needs attention. They also found the mains plug to the Forester had been yanked hard and the wires pulled out of the plug. They repaired it. Who are these people? They finished securing the cable to the abutment. For a little light relief they were able to inspect a fleet of visiting Bugattis.
21 May : The diagrams for the 45670 Multi Level Input Auto-Auto Relay Set have been added to the website.
23 May : Martin and Peter changed a tube in the museum and then went off to Whitecroft to investigate a noisy phone. They broke off the key in the platform cabinet and had to go back after lunch to turn the ticket office extension into a DEL. We hope that S and T can get into the platform cabinet. There was nothing wrong except for the junction hum which we have never tracked down but assume to be due to the use of the mains earths for our exchanges. Ray and I checked the 45670 relay set in Norchard exchange to ensure that it was working well. It was. We also walked the cable route to the abutment and taped the two points where our furry enemies have been cable chewing. After lunch Ray and I took the relay set to Parkend and completed a survey for the installation job. We also recovered the standby battery as it is bulging and promising to shed its acid on the floor. Back at base we had another cuppa and then loaded my car with the scrap cable kindly donated by S and T. It will be sold tomorrow along with the faulty batteries.
24 May : I went to the railway to have a chat with Lynne about the source of the electrical supply at the Town Station. Afterwards I went to the station to trace the main cable back to a utility room in the adjoining Review building. The Review staff let me look into the room where I found a slave meter dated Dec 2005 feeding current to the station area. At least I could read the meter and report back to Lynne what I had found. I went on to sell our scrap at Bendall's. A nice little earner for our fund. Peter came in to check the phone at Whitecroft again as it is the official opening tomorrow. Ray came in to set up the clock we have moved from Parkend. Now we have to let it run for several weeks and get the pendulum set just right. For a non working day, we seem to be rather keen!
25 May : I spent the morning in the exchange moving the ring back circuit from level 7 to level 9. That will clear it out of the way of anybody at Parkend dialling 7 accidentally and getting the junction caught up on the ring back circuit. Eventually the ring back circuit will be incorporated into an engineering services relay set accessed from level 1. I also made a start on converting group selectors 8 on the two racks to incoming selectors to cater for the Lydney Junction Signal Box exchange.
1 June : I went to Parkend to complete the 45670 relay set cabling. As this went so well I changed over the second Norchard junction to the relay set and went on to Norchard to shift the junction from an incoming final to an incoming first selector. I returned to Parkend to test the arrangement to find it working very well. Most pleasing. The first junction from Parkend to Norchard now serves only Norchard calls as it is trunked directly from level 5 at Parkend to an incoming final at Norchard. At present virtually all calls out of Parkend will be dealt with by this simple arrangement. The second junction now accepts calls from levels 4, 5, 6, 7 and 0 and repeats all the dialled digits to a first selector at Norchard. This gives Parkend customers access to all services that will be provided to Norchard customers. Today, this simply means that Parkend customers can access the asterisk exchange and its customers and services.
The circuit shows a higher hum level than the other Norchard - Parkend junctions. I expect this is due to the large 4 microfarad capacitors in the relay set transmission bridge. We can live with it for now but somewhen we ought to do a serious investigation to find the cause. It's probably due to our use of the mains earth at both exchanges. However spikes into the ground instead seem only too likely to go straight through a pipe or cable.
6 June : Rick got on with converting local firsts into incoming firsts at Norchard. Peter and Martin found things to do. Ray and I went to Parkend to convert junction one outgoing to Norchard to a transformer bridge in the auto auto relay set. It completely got rid of the circuit hum. It has to be our way forward. Whilst testing though, we had trouble with wrong numbers only to find that the modified relay set was fine but that we had two dicey telephones at Parkend. Changing the phones cleared up our problems. Fingers crossed!. However should anyone dig a trench near our exchanges we feel that we should stick an earth wire in it and clear the original trouble.
12 June : Ray went to Parkend and updated the records and fitted new labels on equipment, and also proved beyond doubt that extn 301 in the exchange is getting wrong numbers. Removed the phone.
13 June : Rick, Martin, Ray and Peter attended. Martin and Ray changed a starter in a non working light outside the shop. Rick and Ray tested the fire alarm and everything seemed OK. Norchard extn 501 in shop had a sticky dial, tele case refitted. Norchard signal box reported PA not working.Ray and Rick attended and after giving the signalman the third degree we realised it was mis-op. PA tested OK.
20 June : Rick and Ray spent the day refitting the cabinet and phones at Whitecroft. It just leaves me to take the photo and complete the risk assessment page. Martin and I discussed the fluorescent fittings in the hall outside the shop and agreed that they were well past their prime and needed replacement before they shed covers onto the public. We bought one fitting and ordered a second but decided that we will have to come in on a non running day to actually change out the fittings. We had a discussion with the Chairman about the electricity supply at the Town station. We went to the station to recheck the cabling as far as possible and to update our meter reading. 30 units used in four weeks.
23 June : Paul went in to have yet another go at the Asterisk to try to improve its reliability. He came up with some software improvements which we will find out later if they work. Today was group lunch at John's house for the members and partners. We had eleven turn up for an excellent meal prepared by Jean.
27 June : We spent an hour going through the items given to us by David Lyall. The Herbert and Proctor that came with it was especially prized. Rick and Ray changed over the outgoing Parkend junctions to the transformer bridge relay sets and this completely cleared the hum from the circuits. Most satisfactory. This just leaves the 45670 set at Parkend to be modified when I can lay my hands on a small transformer able to fit into a single relay space. Martin and Tony ran the cable from the museum signal light to the proposed relay set position in the exchange. Martin and I also went to switch off the CCTV equipment at the Town Station. While there we found that the adjoining building site seems to have a temporary supply from the Town station. More digging into the situation is now required. Peter came in later, sorted the telephone items from David Lyall and carried on with telephone renovations.
4 July : Rick terminated the museum signal post cable on the relay set terminations. Martin did a bit of PAT testing. Peter had a go at wipe of another phone. I did very little but sort the keys we hold. Rick and I left after lunch.
7 July 2012 : Paul came in for an hour or so to check on the Asterisk. It's still not doing things correctly. Ian and Peter spent the day cabling up the new clock relay set. There is still quite a bit of wiring to be done to get things ticking. I made up a strip of keys, cleaned off tags and cleared a fault on a selector. Ian, Peter, Jean and I went to lunch at Kaplan's. Pretty good, particularly for those having all-day breakfast. Jean and I then had to go to the bypass crossing to get an electricity meter reading. There will be no one at work next Saturday.
8 July : Jean and I went to the Mid Hants Railway to collect five line transformers donated by Chris Hall. We should now be able to put a transformer bridge into all our junction relay sets, existing and proposed, thereby avoiding all our hum problems. Thanks again, Chris.
11 July : Ray and Peter looked at control set lock ups in the UAX13 and reached the conclusion that some serious testing of all line circuits to all linefinders is required to chase down the basic reason for the lockups that occur at Norchard. To be undertaken when Rick is also available. Martin and I met Gary Wildin at the Town Station and between us we recovered the temporary electrical supplies to the adjacent building site. We also recovered the CCTV apparatus and cameras, though they are to be reprovided on the adjacent building. The site is now very much simplified from an electrical supply point of view. After a late lunch Ray and Peter went off to fix the Whitecroft internal phone in hopefully its final position. Martin and I met a possible recruit, Charles Bristow. We had a chat and he accompanied us to Parkend where we changed out a fluorescent tube and disconnected a lighting fitting that was long past its best. Welcome, Charles, should you decide to join our group.
14 July : The phone rang early. It was Lynne with the museum door alarm sounding in the background. I went to sort the alarm but found the museum fire doors not locking correctly. In trying to open one door, the other fell to pieces leaving a big gap! I had trouble trying to stop laughing. In the end Mike Brimble turned up to fit temporary doors whilst he orders a proper set. The doors were completely rotten and so is much of the frame. Whilst we dealt with this problem we heard that a door had been kicked in at the Junction and some windows broken. At least the alarm system is doing its job.
16 July : Another call from Lynne. This time there was no electricity at the Town Station. Oops! We forgot to turn the mains back on last Wednesday when we did the recoveries.
18 July : Ray and Peter fitted and connected the signal post display and also fitted and connected the 6 volt AC power unit. Now it's up to me to finish building the relay set. Martin and Charles spent the day on PAT testing and showing Charles the electrical records.
21 July : Paul, Ian and I recovered the last of the aerial cable and got it sold at Bendall's. We came back to Norchard to sort the pile of scrap left to us by Chris Bull and get it ready to go to the yard. We had lunch at home. After lunch Ian and I mounted the uniselectors at Lydney Junction Signal Box for the new exchange. When we got back to Norchard we sorted out what wiring is left to get the new clock ticking and pulsing.
22 July : The diagrams for the proposed 22 line exchange at Lydney Signal Box are now sufficiently advanced to add to this website here. Please note that these are proposals only and that modifications during development and installation are very likely. At present the uniselectors involved have been wired, including the multiple and installed at the Box. The line circuits have been assembled and are currently being wired. Progress is being made on this installation.
25 July : Rick and Ray refitted the door to cabinet 5D at Upper Forge and provided a lock. This involved quite a walk along the line on a very hot day. Martin and Ray went to see Ned at Parkend who perhaps was reporting electrical difficulty. He wasn't! But he might want a light fitting installed, perhaps next Wednesday. As it was too hot to do a lot, time was spent in the office.
28 July : Ian and Paul were in to finish cabling the new clock control relay set. The new installation is now ticking well and awaits the new master clock to settle down and keep time before we swing the station clocks over to the new setup.
3 August : The Museum Signal Post diagrams and write up are now available on this website.
6 August : Ray went into the railway to adjust the new master clock. Ian and I got the main battery tapped at 24 volts and connected out via a main fuse to an external subsidiary fuse. This will provide the correct voltage for our museum 10+50 and allow the recovery of a 50 volt power unit. We had to take the exchange, PA and clocks off to do the work on the battery. Ian and Paul can now go on and finish the work on the 10+50 without any further assistance.
8 August : Charles and I spent most of the day getting the bottom of the office door cut off and a step installed ready for carpet laying. Now we must tidy the office and get things off the floor next week. Martin fixed the bench light and did some PAT testing. Rick and Ray got the AT5422 tester working again at Parkend and also fitted the cowling back to the main yard loud speaker.
15 August : Rick, Ray, Charles and I had a team briefing about maintenance schedules and diagram filing arrangements. Rick and Ray then went off to Norchard and Parkend exchanges to get their diagrams sorted. Charles is working with John Metherall on the museum's token machines. Martin sorted some electrical problems but the rain stopped him getting to some. Between times the room was tidied, cleared and cleaned ready for the Thomas weekend coming up.
22 August : Rick, Ray and Peter spent the day sorting their respective diagrams into folders and getting their maintenance forms for each pice of equipment into some sort of shape. This will need further time before the serious job of actually routinely maintaining line plant and telephones gets under way. Martin tested a new welder and did surveys for jobs coming up. I put up a couple of shelves in the office for the computer and printer to sit on. This seemed to make a lot of bench space available. We found that our standby PA amplifier and spare microphones have been stolen. They will not be replaced. Somehow during the day we have collected quite a list of jobs to be done, most of them can only take place when we stop running for the winter.
25 August : Just Paul and I in today. We sorted out the work to be done at Lydney Signal Box for the new exchange and collected up most of the required bits and pieces. We got a backboard up and the AT5422 mounted on it. Nice to be able to stay out of the rain today.
29 August : Only Martin and Ray in today. Various items were delivered to the office for Martin to check and PAT test. Ray had a go at a line finder not going rotary and busied out by John Metheral. Then Ray went to Parkend and made a start on the routine switch maintenance. A relatively quiet day. (ps. An ex BT UAX 13 and 14 mtce. engineer appeared in the exchange, he was awestruck and his wife had great difficulty in getting him out to catch the train, he said he would rather spend the day in the exchange!)
5 September : Rick, Martin, Peter and Ray in today. Martin was kept busy with lighting issues, Rick spent some time on DP3A. Peter and Ray got going on routine phone mtce. and spent some time with Rick discussing the forms so that they would be consistent over the whole site. We sorted out a new phone for the shop to replace the red one but before it could be fitted, at five to three the "John's away demon" struck by a phone call from the office to tell us the microwave in the buffet was not working. Martin could not be found so Peter and Ray went and found the mains had tripped out on one of the circuits. OK after resetting.
12 September : Rick,Martin, Peter, Charles and Ray in. Rick spent the day on DP 3A. Martin and Charles changed bulbs at the town station and Norchard. Charles went to work on the token machine and had the bent token drilled out and it now works. Peter and Ray changed the shop red phone and did a few more routine instrument checks. We also sorted out the red handset on the 10 plus 50 which had the wires to the 4t receiver pressed against the receiver and shorting.
19 September 2012 : Rick, Ray, Charles and I were in. Rick spent the day looking at maintenance procedures and records. We looked at the ongoing job of reterminating DP3A on the platform and think that it is probably best to fit a new backboard and terminal strips and then move the cables over one at a time shifting jumpers as required. An awkward job but very necessary as the DP is in an awful state. Ray went off to do maintenance work at Parkend and Charles went back to sorting the museum's token machine display. I shifted the switches on the new museum signal display to the back of the display board so that the public would be less likely to alter the display. I also completed a couple of minor jobs as well.
3 October : Martin, Rick, Ray, Peter and I were in. Martin was getting on with PAT testing and Rick and Peter got on with making up the terminal strips for the renewal of DP3A. Ray and I went to Parkend to put the token pair through to the ground frame DP. While we were there we noticed the the D phone mike battery had been broken away from the terminal strip. After lunch we took new batteries for the D phone to Parkend and got them connected up.
4 October : The Lydney Signal Box exchange proposals have been considerably updated to show the latest circuit diagrams. The relay sets involved have now had all the relays etc mounted and await wiring and testing.
6 October : Just Paul and myself at work at Lydney Signal Box on the new exchange wiring. We had a good day getting most of the wiring between the line circuits and the multiple completed.
7 October : I started to record yesterday's work only to realise that I had committed a classic gaffe. I had read a strip connection layout from the wrong side. All the wiring we completed has to be reversed somewhere. Sorry Paul. It will be better by the time you get back from your holiday.
10 October : Martin, Charles and I went to Parkend to check on the state of the huts which we thought was pretty poor for the switch on of an electricity supply. Rick and Peter went back to the repair of DP3A. Ray checked the new mikes and leads to find that one of the new leads had a dis leg. He repaired it, so that now we should not be caught out on Santa day with a faulty mike or extension lead.
17 October : Rick continued work on DP3A and later joined Ray and Peter who fitted an external bell at Whitecroft. Tony Smith (our electrical contractor) came in and with Martin, Charles and myself we had a hunt for the duct laid in the car park for car park lights. Most of the duct was too hidden to find so next Wednesday we are expecting a digging gang to start on trenches to find the line of the duct. We also looked at the other electrical jobs coming up at Norchard. Not a very productive day but at least we have an idea of where we are heading on the electrical side. I went to Lydney Signal Box and sprayed the proposed exchange uniselectors with a degreasing agent in the hope that in a week's time, the wipers may be properly contacting the bank contacts.
24 October : Martin and Charles took charge of the digging party to find the electricity duct around the car park. They found the duct and we expect the diggers to return over the weekend to uncover and straighten more of the flexible duct in readiness for cabling and lamp post erection. Rick and Peter went to DP3M at St Mary's and started on a proper cabinet repair. They managed to fix the cable and get the visible length under ground. Paul and I went to Lydney Signal Box to clean the uniselector banks, give the unis a good run and tap out the wiring to them. We found some errors, both in diagram preparation and in execution so in the end it was a very profitable day all round.
27 October : Just Paul and Ian in today. They got on with fitting a second set of protectors to the Lydney Signal box concentrator rack, earthing the metalwork for the line circuits and uniselector frame, and providing battery to the uniselector magnets.
30 October : Ray went in for a couple of hours. He checked the spare master clock ( 0.5 secs gain per week over 8 weeks) and reset its slave clock to GMT. He also fitted a replacement rack test tele extn 301 at Parkend and replaced the mike on extn 331 and updated the records folder.
31 October 2012 : Ray and Paul spent the day renovating the clock in the hallway and moving the clock in the office. Rick and Peter finished repairing the cabinet at DP3M and then got back to tidying DP3A, a long tedious job. Charles, Martin and Tony Smith went to look at the various jobs needed electrically at Parkend. The ground frame cable still cannot be turned on. We will take on the extra outside lights and the light in the goods shed, in house. Martin and Charles came back to fit the new museum light. I had a go at two temperamental night storage heaters and hopefully have got them sorted. I also put up pictures of the telecoms group at work in our office window for the public to peruse. At least they brighten up the front of the office.
2 November : I went in to survey the job to extend the common services from Parkend exchange to the signal box in readiness for the provision of a concentrator. The job will include the provision of Norchard time clocks for the signal box and station building.
3 November : Ian, Paul and I attended the THG Swapmeet at Milton Keynes in the hope of locating some goodies.
I had a good day finding five 4000 type selectors for use in the proposed Lydney Junction exchange. I also found a good supply of telephone 300 earpieces and mouthpieces for our demonstration phones, necessary as children tend to break the handsets by dropping them.
7 November : Ray and Peter finished off the renovation of cabinet 3M at St Mary's and then completed the retermination of DP3D in the station master's office onto a new block. Charles, Martin and Tony M went to Parkend to get on with the work providing additional external lighting and the replacement of the security light. I kept in touch with the digging gang excavating the car park duct and connected the museum computer to the internet. After lunch Ray, Peter and I went to Parkend to sort out the work needed to get common services to the proposed concentrator in the signal box. During the day we agreed to split the electrical and telecoms work to some degree with Charles being nominated as Electrical Manager.
14 November : Martin and Charles moved a light switch in the waiting room and restored electricity to the Pooley wagon after the fridge gave up its struggle of many years and tripped the mains. They also looked at a water heater which turned out to be lacking water and not electricity. Peter continued with the stores and made up several junction boxes out of bits of old ones. Paul and Ray took all the bits for the Parkend common services job to Parkend where they are all in one plastic bag. Paul and Ray then sorted out the old Norchard clock wiring and now have jumpers in place ready for a change over to the spare master clock. They checked the loop and reverse pulses to the IDF blocks from the new relay set and found the reverse pulses to be missing. This was due to a small metal filing on the C relay pole face which stood to attention when the coil was energised and prevented the armature from operating. An interesting day.
17 November : Paul and I spent the day installing a red pay on answer coinbox in the museum for the kids to use. We hope they will be able to hear a Santa message on it. However we had to allocate an 800 number as it will be a demo phone and be connected as a coin box to linefinder level 8. Our last two level 8 outlets were faulty. It took quite a bit of tracking down but in the end we found two wires from the bank had been disconnected on the bank tag strip. Putting them back made everything fine. Now we wonder why anyone would have done such a thing. Still we now have an appreciation of how it is all wired together.
28 November : We had a mixed day at the railway. Martin and Tony helped the contractor install two of the four lengths of car park cabling. We are still trying to find the duct for the remaing two lengths. Rick, Ray and Peter tried to provide a further phone on our signal box BT line but in the end we had too much REN on the line and we had ring trip. We have decided that we must disconnect something to bring the line within limits and that something has to be the chairman's line. I mounted my picture frame so that visitors can be treated to a slide show of telecom and railway activities. It looks pretty good in the museum. Later it took four of us nearly an hour to untangle a string of Christmas lights for installation in the shop. Four Sparks carrying one string of fairy lights across the yard tickled everyone in view. Lynne has threatened us with another tangle next week.
1 December : Paul and Ian recovered the old clock apparatus from the exchange wall and got the old clock refixed in its new position. It still needs to be wired and set up and the records for the new clock arrangement prepared. Peter and I held an inventory of the apparatus on our BT lines. We may well be able to give most of the facilities required from our existing lines. Bob Bramwell's digging gang have found the car park duct at all the relevant places and we can now pull in lamp post cables with little trouble.
5 December : Quite a busy day. Martin, Tony and Charles went off to Parkend to provide a couple of external lamps over the platform. Paul got on with getting the second master clock wired up and running. Rick and Peter provided an answer machine on 811 for use as a Santa line for the kids to ring in to. I fitted a 5 CD auto changer on the PA for music over Christmas and beyond. During the day we had a long discussion about taking all BT lines and CAT5 circuits via a patch panel in the office. We do not have to do this now but should we be required to alter further BT lines or CAT5 circuits, it would be the sensible thing to do. For now it's just a question of designing the system and pricing the stores as it would be a job too far for our telephone fund. Out in the car park, Adam the contractor got all the cabling in and got two lamp posts erected. They look rather nice.
12 December : Party day for the group. We joined with the 9681/gardener group to hold a lunch party in the Severn and Wye room. Twenty five of us attended along with our respective partners or friends. We have Jean to thank for her excellent spread.
15 December : Ian, Peter, Paul and I attended. We had expected to do some cabling in the loft but of course it's a Santa day so we had to stay out of the way in the exchange. We reorganised the walls so that we could fit a four feet by three backboard for the proposed BT lines rearrangement. It does tidy the exchange up quite a bit. Otherwise a quiet day except that at four thirty we had a complaint from the workshop that three lights were not working. We have to call in the contractor to do that job due to the height problems.
16 December : During the afternoon I was called to the railway as "the phones are off". I went into the exchange to the smell of cooking windings. It was a group selector A relay being held by a full earth on the negative wire. Rack A1 was dead. I traced the earth to a peg incorrectly inserted in points 1 and 2 on control set 2 rather than points 7 and 8. The rack had been working on set 1 until it locked up for some reason, then the rack ceased to operate. At least it was fairly easy to find once all the covers were off and the linefinder diagram had been unfurled.
20 December : The new clock relay set and arrangements have been added to the website.
23 December : It's good to see Chris Hall's Mid Hants Railway Telecoms Website back on the net.
At the start of the year we came up with some hopes for 2012. Overall we did not do too well ie :
We hope for better weather next year so that we can get out onto the lineside to bring our documentation up to date.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our readers and thank you for keeping in touch.
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